WISPA Calls on FCC to Modernize Rules in the 2.5 GHz “EBS” Spectrum Band
Washington, DC – The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) today praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its efforts to modernize its rules for the 2.5 GHz spectrum band, and endorsed proposals that would free up spectrum for commercial broadband service in rural areas while providing new flexibility to existing licensees engaged in educational missions.
In a new filing [ 1] with the FCC, WISPA responded to the FCC’s request for public comments on proposed rule changes affecting the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum band.
According to the FCC, significant portions of the EBS band are going unused across a large portion of the United States, primarily in rural areas that lack access to broadband service. Access to the band has been limited since 1995, and current licensees are subject to an outdated regulatory regime.
WISPA members have strong interests in the 2.5 GHz band as both current and prospective users. For example, some WISPA members have leased EBS spectrum to improve service to existing subscribers and/or to reach other communities that are unserved or underserved. WISPA members that have negotiated such leases include Aeronet in Puerto Rico; Rise Broadband in parts of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas; Wisper ISP in southern Illinois, southwestern Missouri, and Oklahoma; Casair in central Missouri; Gtek Communications in southeast Texas; and Texoma Broadband in areas straddling the Oklahoma-Texas border near Sherman, Texas.
At the same time, other WISPA members have been frustrated in their ability to gain access to 2.5 GHz spectrum due to an array of regulatory impediments and the lack of a vibrant secondary market.
“With so much 2.5 GHz spectrum sitting unused in areas where broadband access and choice are lacking – and where WISPA members can deploy networks quickly, affordably, and without subsidies – it’s time to make this band a significant part of the solution to the digital divide,” said WISPA President Claude Aiken.
“To be sure, education and distance learning are important national objectives,” Aiken added. “But limiting access to the EBS airwaves to a narrow class of entities with restrictive use requirements is not the best way to promote those objectives. Closing the urban-rural broadband gap is the key to closing the ‘homework gap.’ We look forward to working with the commissioners to maximize the benefits of EBS spectrum for students, consumers, and rural communities.”
Breyana Franklin mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 202-495-3703